To observe the effects of acupuncture of "Baihui" (GV 20) and "Zusanli" (ST 36) on the expression of interleukin (IL)-1beta and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha proteins in the bilateral cerebral tissue in cerebral ischemia reperfusion injury (CI/RI) rats, so as to explore its mechanism underlying improving CI.
Seventy-eight SD rats were randomized into sham-operation (control) group (n = 6), model group (n = 36) and acupuncture group (n = 36), and the latter two groups were further divided into 12, 24, 48, 72, 96 and 144 h subgroups (n = 6 in each subgroup) according to the reperfusion time. Acupuncture stimulation was applied to GV 20 and left ST 36 for 20 min at the required time-points after successful operation, once a day. The expression of IL-1beta and TNF-alpha in bilateral brain tissue was examined by immunohistochemistry.
Immunohistochemical staining showed that the expression of cerebral IL-1beta protein in cerebral ischemia regions exhibited a double-peak, and the peak time in the model group was at 48 h and 96 h, while the expression of TNF-alpha protein in cerebral ischemia regions exhibited a single-peak, and the peak time in both model and acupuncture groups was at 72 h. In comparison with the normal group and sham group, cerebral IL-1beta and TNF-alpha protein expression levels of both ischemic and non-ischemic regions were increased significantly in the model group (P < 0.05). Compared to the model group, the expression levels of cerebral IL-1beta and TNF-alpha of both ischemic and non-ischemic regions in the acupuncture group at most of the time-points after CI/RI were decreased obviously (P < 0.05).
Acupuncture can effectively suppress the expression of IL-1beta and TNF-alpha proteins in bilateral ischemic and non-ischemic cerebral regions in CI/RI rats,suggesting an anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture intervention.